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Pacific Spirit Park Hike in Vancouver

Hike in Whistler & Garibaldi Provincial ParkHike in Squamish & Garibaldi Provincial ParkHike in VancouverHike in Tofino & ClayoquotHike in Victoria & Vancouver IslandHike the West Coast Trail WCT

Pacific Spirit Regional Park - Vancouver Trails in May


Pacific Spirit Park Beach PathPacific Spirit Regional Park Hiking Trails in VancouverPacific Spirit Park surrounds the University of British Columbia on the shores of Georgia Straight.  The park has a beautiful array of trails, 73 kilometres in total, that run along beaches, some old growth forest and even a bog.  The network of trails interconnects so often that you can do small 15 minute sections if that is all you are after.  Pacific Spirit Park is one of Vancouver's most popular parks and located in the wonderful and expensive neighbourhood, Point Grey.

You can wander the park for hours if you want as there are an endless number of trails heading in all directions. The park is open during daylight hours and there are plenty of washrooms and food stands.  Most trails are hard packed gravel and only the occasional elevation change.  More than 50 of the 73 kilometres of trails are designated as multi-use, allowing for biking and horseback riding as well as hiking/walking.

Pacific Spirit Park - Wreck BeachMuch of the park is in deep forest, however, stairs lead to various beaches along the ocean.  Steep stairs descend through thick forest to finally open up at these unexpectedly beautiful beaches.  Nice sand, clean shoreline and enormous logs from decades of logging, strewn along the beach make them characteristically "west coast" in look.

Wreck Beach in VancouverOne of the more popular beaches is the locally famous Wreck Beach.  This clothing optional beach is a world of its own.  This surreal corner of Vancouver can be quite a shock to the uninitiated.  Though after a few minutes the unmistakable charm and beauty of the place makes you forget about the unusual surroundings and you melt into this wonderful beach in this beautiful Vancouver park.

Just a short walk from Wreck Beach is the Museum of Anthropology.  This stunning museum showcases works by the peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations.  Only a handful of other places in the world have such a beautiful Pacific Spirit Park - Museum of Anthropologycollection of totem poles and wood carvings.

If you enjoy art, history or anthropology, you will be in heaven.  If you don't you will still likely be impressed by the beauty of these majestic and in some cases, enormous carvings depicting a culture of the past and present.  Be careful when you go, however, as they don't open on Mondays, but otherwise 10-5pm(Tuesday until 9pm).

Pacific Spirit Park is a must see on any visit to Vancouver.  The forest and beaches are beautiful and UBC and its surrounding roads are unmistakably Vancouver.  You quickly see that you are in British Columbia's coastal rainforest when you see the sheer volume of trees.  Giant trees and gnarled trees spill over the road making it seem like you are driving through a green tunnel.

Pacific Spririt Regional Park Hiking Trails Map

 

Upper Shannon Falls Hike in Vancouver

Upper Shannon Falls Provincial Park


Shannon Falls at the Start of the TrailUpper Shannon Falls is Moderately Challenging with Some Steep SectionsThe wonderful Upper Shannon Falls Trail is now also called the Sea to Summit trail, branches off from the chaotically popular Stawamus Chief trail.  About 15 minutes along the Stawamus Chief trail you will see a well marked trail branch off to the right into the forest.  This is the Upper Shannon Falls Trail and is remarkably unused.  This is a wonderful fact though as hundreds hike the Chief on any given weekend day, though only a handful hike this trail.

The, Upper Shannon Falls Trail the Stawamus Chief trail and Shannon Falls are all connected by trails.  In order to see all three you should park in the Shannon Falls parking lot and hike up to the Shannon Falls viewpoint just a short 5 minute walk from the parking lot, then proceed from there to connect with the Stawamus Chief trail, about 15 minutes further up the trail.

Once you connect with the Stawamus Chief trail you will see clear signs directing you to either the The Challenging Shannon Falls TrailUpper Shannon Falls trail, or to continue on the main trail to one or all of the Chiefs 1st Peak trail, 2nd Peak trail, 3rd Peak trail.  If you plan on hiking both the Upper Shannon Falls trail and one or all of the Chief peaks, be prepared for an arduous day as the distance is not very much, but the continuous elevation gain will be hard.  But as long as you are in for a good workout.. as many do.. Doing both the Chief and the Upper Shannon Falls trails in the same day is amazing!

The views are not quite as dramatic at the top of the Upper Shannon Falls trail and the distance a bit farther than the Chiefs first peak, but the views are still amazing.  The hike through the forest is very beautiful as it winds through massive trees and over cute streams and at one point through a wonderful fissure in the mountain.  If you are looking to get away from the crowds Upper Shannon Falls is the place.

The beginning of the Upper Shannon Falls Trail greets you with the breathtaking 335 metre Shannon Falls.  This crashing monster freezes you with spray as you pass close enough to feel its pounding force.  Starting at the Shannon Falls trailhead is almost always the better option than starting at the nearby Stawamus Chief trailhead.  The exception would be if you plan on camping at the large and well designed forest campsites at the start of the Stawamus Chief trailhead.  The two trailheads, Shannon Falls and StawamusUpper Shannon Falls View of Squamish Chief are quite close, only about 1.5k apart.  The Stawamus Chief trailhead has the campsites (63 tent sites at $8/person, free in the winter) and the Shannon Falls trailhead has the washrooms and concession stand.  Both have large parking lots.

The Upper Shannon Falls trail is generally easy and only 3.5k from the Shannon Falls trailhead to the end of the Upper Shannon Falls trail and plateau viewpoints.  It is however constantly uphill as you do gain 450 metres in that short distance.  There are a couple chain pulls along the trail (see picture below), though they are only added as a convenience and added safety precaution on a couple narrow parts of the trail.

The real attraction of the Upper Shannon Falls trail is actually not the upper falls, but rather the beautiful hilltop and rock outcrops at the end of the trail.  They give you tremendous views all around.  From Squamish to distant mountains to Howe Sound.  There is a considerable forested area to explore and so large as to likely never bump into anyone if you plan on relaxing with a mountaintop picnic or glass of wine.

Upper Shannon Falls Trail View

Callaghan Lake Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsBrandywine Falls Aerial Video - Vancouver TrailsMadeley Lake Aerial Video - Vancouver Trails

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